Terri Haupt

When I was a tiny little girl my grandma gave me Madame Alexander’s 14-inch Pussy Cat. Of course to me, she was just my lovely baby. That is all I played with, baby-dolls. I loved her so much she lost all her hair, her seams in the back wore through, and her crier stopped working.

I had grown, so Grandma bought me the 18-inch Pussy Cat whom I also loved dearly but was older so she did not get so worn. I still have them both to this day with their original dresses.

Then when I was eight years old or so we visited Grandma and went to the toy store. There was the baby I fell in love with 24-inch Pussy Cat with honey blond hair, blue eyes, pink dress, coat, and bonnet.

I stood in front of the counter and gazed, falling in love with this dolly. But it was not Christmas nor birthday!

The clerk at the counter asked if she could help me so I asked if I could just hold “that baby.” She did, and I still love the pretty smell of a new “Ma-Ma” baby.

Christmas passed and the baby did not come but I still hoped. Then, for my birthday, she arrived! I was so thrilled and to me she was really my baby. I mothered her every day and took her everywhere with me.

Grandma occasionally sent a dress for her as she could wear real baby clothes. My mom would let me come to garage sales and buy baby clothes out of my saved pennies. My Mom loved to knit and made her a pink cardigan with a kitten on it.

I loved to play with baby dolls so much that I would make a bargain with my friends that if they played baby dolls with me I would play Barbies with them the next day!

When I grew older and my peers thought I was too old to play with dolls (I secretly still did at home in my room), my mom and I started collecting dolls together. We did not always buy “perfect” dolls but bought more so from the heart - those that we loved.

Madame Alexander babies are still my favorites. My Mom’s favorite babies were Tiny Tears and Patsy.

I married and began having my own children (five sons!), and moved a bit away from collecting dolls. I still kept them but did not really have time to look at them anymore.

Last November my mother died after a short and vicious battle with cancer. Now the dolls that we shared together are a link for me with her. I had forgotten how much joy they bring me along with many memories.

... and I still have my baby, Pussy Cat, loved and played with but in her original clothing. If she could speak, she could tell the story of my life - every happy and sad, joyful and painful memory.